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Five Healthier Food Swaps

Container of apple cider vinegar with apples in the background

Eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of foods you enjoy. You can make food swaps to upgrade your food choices vs. eliminating things, for example, swapping not-so-healthy options with healthier ones. Plus, food swapping can bring more nutritional benefits to your diet. Here are five food swaps you can start implementing today!

Swap 1: Use olive oil and apple cider vinegar to make your own dressing instead of using processed dressings.

Homemade oil and vinegar dressings contain virtually no preservatives or additives, plus you can control how tangy you want your dressing. You can start with three parts oil to one part vinegar and adjust! So, you could use ¼ cup vinegar and whisk it into ¾ cup oil.

This formula matters because fats help evenly distribute your seasonings and “extras” over the surface of the food you’re marinating – and it helps stop the acid from making the food too tender or mushy. Acid (vinegar) tenderizes your food, allowing it to absorb more of the flavors you use.

Make sure to use an apple cider vinegar (ACV) that is organic and still contains the “mother” at the bottom because it is part of the fermentation process. Not only does ACV contain antioxidants that help protect your health, but it also has antimicrobial properties that kill pathogens (germs). 

Plus, ACV can help reduce your appetite by making you feel full. It also appears to help improve insulin sensitivity and may lower your body’s blood sugar response after eating.

When you mix your oil and vinegar, add a little Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper to the mixture, and you’ve got a yummy dressing or even a marinade for your proteins.

Bowl of oatmeal with apple slices and powdered cinnamon

Swap 2: Add cinnamon (and/or stevia) to your coffee or oatmeal instead of sugar. It’ll add flavor without calories. 

Cinnamon has one of the highest antioxidant concentrations of all herbs and spices, and it helps your body stabilize your blood sugar level.

When you’re shopping, be sure to look for Ceylon cinnamon (vs. Cassia). It’s safer and contains more of the compound (cinnamaldehyde) that makes cinnamon so nutritious.

Stevia is a sugar substitute that comes from a plant. It’s 100 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar, but it has no carbs, calories, or artificial ingredients. 

Two containers with mustard

Swap 3: Swap out mayo for mustard.

Mayo has about 90 calories in just a single tablespoon! Mustard contains fewer calories, and you won’t get that weighed-down feeling after eating. Plus, there are lots of fun varieties on the market. Experiment to find your favorites, from spicy to hot to even sweet!

Bowl of greek yogurt with vegetables and greens in the background
 
Swap 4: Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

When making dips that call for sour cream, choose unflavored Greek yogurt instead. Or if you have homemade chili you normally add sour cream to, try a dollop of Greek yogurt. Unflavored Greek yogurt has a similar consistency to sour cream and the taste is close, but you'll be saving on calories and getting additional health benefits of Greek yogurt, like good-for-you probiotics. Plus, it has less lactose than other yogurts, which means people with dairy sensitivity tolerate it better. In my opinion, the 2 percent version of Greek yogurt works much better than fat-free if you’re using it for cooking or in dips because the texture and flavor make a big difference. 

TIP: If you like flavored yogurts, try plain non-fat Greek yogurt and add your own mix-ins (fruit, nuts, etc.) to cut down on the added sugars in flavored varieties.

Person spraying oil onto a pan
 
Swap 5: Substitute an EVOO cooking spray for EVOO oil.

Many nutrition experts consider olive oil the most nutritious fat because it’s high in antioxidants and good-for-you fats. Not only that, but it contains anti-inflammatories often linked with a lower incidence of stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease! 

However, it can be easy to overdo it. So, instead of pouring a few tablespoons of olive oil into your skillet, use a real olive oil spray. Using the spray will let you cover the whole pan with a lot less oil. 

This swap is a big one if you do a lot of cooking at home. The bonus is that your food will still taste great, and you’ll still get the EVOO health benefits, but your meal will be lighter and leaner! 

About the Author: Brittinie Wick is an Air Force Veteran turned Health and Fitness Coach who founded Brittinie Wick Fitness. Her mission is to empower all women, through fitness and nutrition, to gain confidence, lose weight, and celebrate the feeling of strong and sexy. Grab her “Healthy at Every Age” guide! This ebook is aimed at people just like you, who want to live their BEST, MOST ACTIVE life, starting TODAY and continuing deep into the future!

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